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Watch this space for up-to-date news of chess events from the Otago region.

Club Rapid Championship 2nd leg – 25 October

Despite the new rules applied again this year the competition for the three tites was largely decided by advantages gained in the first leg. Defending Champion and top seed Quentin Johnson only needed to score 2/6 in the A Grade to retain the Senior Championship trophy, as main rival from the first leg Leighton Nicholls did not compete. Edward Sarfas won the A Grade with 4/6 and this was easily enough to secure the Intermediate Championship trophy. The B Grade was closely fought, with Shoji Fukushima and Max Lough tying for first on 3˝/6. This result gave Lough the Junior Trophy - extending the lead he had carried from the 1st leg. The C Grade was won by Ryan Lau with a massive score of 7/8, two point clear of Hildon Nisa with Martin Brook a further half point back. Although not enough to overhaul Lough in the Rapid Championship, it did give him the rating points to just overtake Lough in the battle for the Rapid Perpetual Trophy, winning with a gain of 80 points for the year to Lough's 76.

View combined Crosstable and Rating performances
View Grade Crosstables

Ultimate Challenge – 25 October

The Ultimate Challenge format was copied from the after event at the Sinquefield Cup Super GM tournament. Two teams of four players played 5m + 3s Bronstein blitz in rotation – 5 moves for each player before the next member of their team took over the game, with players paired to be roughly even strength. The team order was reversed for the final deciding game. The team of Quentin, Brent, Martin & Sam lost the first game against the team Edward, Zohar, Hildon & Liam, but then struck back in the second after Brent stood down and was replaced by Shoji and went on to win the final deciding game with just an extra pawn up in a pawn ending.

South Island Championship and South Island Rapid Championship - 11-15 October
South Island Championship
1st= WCM Vyanla Punsalan and FM Stephen Lukey (SI Champion)
3rd Riley Jellyman
U1800 Grade
1st= Hamish Gold, Aurian De Briey & Max Lough
DD Smash Upset Prize to Winston Weng for win over Oliver Picken

South Island Rapid Championship
1st= CM Edward Rains (SI Rap co-chp), CM Oliver Picken, Iain Lamont (SI Rap co-chp) & WCM Vyanla Punsalan
U1550 Grade
1st= Aurian De Briey and Stephen Murdoch
3rd= Shoji Fukushima, John Ansell & Max Lough

Full results on Vega: South Island Championship; South Island Rapid
Photo and caption on Otago Daily Times website

Club Championship – 20 September

After the second leg of the 2016 Club Championship, Quentin Johnson repeated his score of 4/5 from the first leg, losing just one game to Geoff Aimers, who finished scond on 3˝ ahead of Terry Duffield third on 2˝. This proved enough for Johnson to take the Senior Championship, as first leg leader Leighton Nicholls couldn't keep up the momentum and finished on 2 points along with Edward Sarfas. Riley Jellyman only managed to complete two games to finish on 1 point.

The B grade was dominated by Hamish Gold, who scored a 5/5 picket fence, only just missing out on the Intermediate Championship title to Terry Duffield's strong showing in the A grade after being promoted. Brent Southgate finished two points back on 3, though he could be joined by Bob Clarkson depending on the result of his unfinished game with Max Lough (update 15 Oct - Bob forfeited this game due to being unable to play it before the end of October rating deadline). Clarkson is on 2 with Shoji Fikushima, while Lough's final total of 2˝ won him the Junior Championship by a large margin after being promoted from the C Grade. John Armstrong finished on ˝, a drop in perfromance in this event after a string of good results in the last 12 months.

The C grade was again a six-round Swiss. Top seed David Reid started with a loss to Ryan Lau, but a string of wins and draw to 2nd seed Hildon Nisa allowed him to recover - finishing with a pleasing queen sacrifice for mate in this final game and take clear first on 4˝/6. Ryan Lau finished next on 4 points, losing only to Hildon and taking a couple of half-point byes. Nisa finished 3rd on 3˝, followed by Martin Brook and new member Zohar Gonen on 3 points. Two more new members were next: Liam Gonen on 2, Nicholas Wright on 1˝. Then came Ethan Lau on 1 and another new member Harold Gao on 0.

The rules this year mean that each grade starts with a base score and/or a scaling factor, to allow performances to be roughly compared between grades, based on the average rating of the field in each grade. That allows players in different grades to compete for the same trophy on roughly even terms. The final Championship totals show the effect of these adjustments:
1 Johnson 15 (Senior Champion); 2 Nicholls 13˝; 3-4 Aimers & Duffield (Intermediate Champion) 11˝; 5 Sarfas 11; 6 Gold 10˝; 7-8 Jellyman & Southgate 9˝; 9 Fukushima 7˝; 10-11 Lough (Junior Champion) & Reid 7; 12 Nisa 6˝; 13-14 Clarkson & Armstrong 5˝; 15 Ryan Lau 4; 16 Brook 3; 17 Zohar Gonen 2˝ 18 Ethan Lau 2; 19-20 Liam Gonen & Wright 1˝; 21 Gao 0.

View all crosstables
View A-Grade crosstable and rating performances
View B-Grade crosstable and rating performances
View C-Grade crosstable and rating performances

Spring Rapid Open – 2 September

The Spring Rapid Open drew a healthy field of 19. Missing from the usual field was Ross Black from Christchurch, but Dylan and Amy Lee travelled up from Invercargill to add some novelty to the field that was otherwise from Dunedin, with Dallin Heperi a welcome addition after many years absence from the competition. Four players, Gary Yao, John Mengel, Leevi Hanson and Linus Patterson were playing in their first open. The time control of Bronstein 25 mins plus 5 seconds was used. There were two upsets in round 1: Romero Suggate's defeat of Edward Sarfas - the second swiss gambit in a row for Sarfas, and Nick Wright's defeat of Martin Brook. Top seed Quentin Johnson sacrificed a piece for a speculative attack agains Hildon Nisa and had to play well to win a tough game against sturdy defence. In round two Johnson was again under pressure from Ethan Lau, before Ethan simply left a rook to be taken. Second seed Hamish Gold went down to Bob Clarkson, Suggate continued his giant-beating ways with a win over Heperi and Gary Yao held Nisa to a draw. The third round saw an end to Clarkson's run at the hands of Ryan Lau, who joined Johnson on 3/3 after the latter defeated Max Lough, while Gold put a stop to Suggate to lead the chasing pack a point behind. The battle between the leaders in the fourth round ended in a victory for Johnson after Ryan overlooked a knight fork. Gold, Heperi, Sarfas and Lough joined Ryan in second place with wins over Ethan, Clarkson, Brook and Suggate respectively. Meanwhile Mengel, Patterson and Amy all managed to score their first points in one of these events. The fifth round started without the Lee's who had an appointment back in Invercargill. Gold developed a strong attack after sacrificing a pawn against Johnson and got his chance when Johnson erred allowing Gold's queen to win back the pawn and enter the position decisively. Gold overlooked a winning queeen check on h8 and then sacced the queen for a rook in a miscalulated combo. The queen soon cleaned up Gold's passed pawns and won. Heperi beat Ryan to stay in touch, as did swiss gambiteer Sarfas with a win over Lough. Meanwhile Hanson scored his first win of the event over Noah Oseki. Staying in contention for the prize list were Nisa, Brook, Yao and Mengel, with wins over Ethan, Suggate, Clarkson and Patterson respectively. The round finished eraly so a sixth and final round was added to make up the time. Johnson was not unduly troubled by Heperi's offbeat opening to take first with 6/6. Sarfas defeated Nisa to take clear second on 5 points without playing the top seed - a success for the swiss gambit. Gold beat Lough to finish third equal 4 points with Ryan, who defeated Brook and Yao, who beat Wright. That meant Ryan Lau won the under 1500 grade ahead of Hildon Nisa second on 3˝, while Gary Yao won the under 700 grade ahead of John Mengel, also second on 3˝ after a win over Hanson.
The next rapid open is the Summer Rapid on Saturday 2 December.

View Crosstable

Otago/Southland Under 20 (Junior) Championship – 19 August

A healthy field of 21 players turned out at the Otago Chess Club to contest the 2017 championship. Only Rogan-Joe Sloan (St Kevins, Waimate) and Hamish Early (Remarkables, Queenstown) came from outside Dunedin. Defending champion Leighton Nicholls started as favourite, along with former champion Riley Jellyman (OBHS). However, seven rounds with the Rapid time limit of 25 minutes for the game meant there was plenty of room for upsets. As last year, Max Lough (OBHS) was the player that proved the most difficult for the favourites. The first round largely went as expected, though a key result was Ethan Lau’s (OBHS) win over under 13 champion from two weeks earlier Martin Brook (JMC). Round two saw only one minor upset when Ryan Lau (OBHS) lost to Zishen Fu (OBHS). Round three saw only three players still on maximum points after Nicholls defeated Ethan Lau, Jellyman beat Fu with a blistering attack and Lough eventually overcame Romero Suggate (Tahuna) in the ending after initially going material down. The game of round 4 was Nicholls-Lough in which Nicholls won the exchange but in the R vs N ending Lough’s passed c-pawn either cost the rook or queened. Nicholls chose to try to defend the R vs Q ending with a fortress, but Lough played well to eventually secure victory. Jellyman joined Lough in the lead on 4/4 with a win over Ryan Lau. The chasing pack on 3 points was made up of Nicholls, Fu, Brook, Suggate, and Noah Oseki (OBHS) who upset Ethan Lau. In the clash between the leader in round five, Lough initially went up an exchange with a knight fork, but Jellyman had compensation in terms of a kingside pawn roller. Lough went for tactics against Jellyman’s weakened kingside rather than open up the centre for his rooks and a piece sac for two pawns was not enough compensation with his queenside pieces undeveloped. Jellyman’s two pieces dominated the rook and he went on to win, taking the sole lead. Nicholls joined Lough a point behind on 4/5 with a win over Suggate, as did Brook by beating Fu and Oseki after defeating Sloan. The penultimate round slimmed down the chasing pack as Jellyman beat Oseki to move to 6/6, while Lough beat Brook and Nicholls beat Fu to stay a point behind. The next group on 4 points were Brook, Suggate, Oseki and Ethan and Ryan Lau, who came from three pieces down to win over a tired Liam Gonen (Home). In the final round the top two seeds finally met and a three-way tie for first was possible if Jellyman lost to Nicholls and Lough beat Ryan Lau. Ryan couldn’t repeat his escapology from the previous round and lost quickly to Lough. The top-board game entered a tactical melee with many pieces en prise, where Nicholls could have won a pawn, but he overlooked his chance and Jellyman took control of the position and won to secure the tournament victory. Lough was left alone in second place while Nicholls was joined in third place by Brook with a win over Oseki, and Suggate who defeated Ethan Lau.

First and winner of the JJ Marlow Trophy for the second time was Riley Jellyman on 7/7. Second place under 20 and first under 16 went to Max Lough on 6 points. Third equal were Leighton Nicholls, Martin Brook and Romero Suggate on 5 points, with the letter two also first equal under 13. Second equal U16 were Ethan Lau, Noa Oseki, Nicholas Wright (OBHS) Gary Yao (JMC) and Hamish Early on 4 points. The winning team was OBHS1 (Max Lough, Ryan Lau & Ethan Lau).

View crosstable and team standings

Thematic tournament – 9 August

Six players contested the round-robin with a blitz time control of Bronstein 5 mins plus 3 seconds per move, as six players from the rapid championship had to finished postponed games and Bob Clarkson and Hamsh Gold chose to play a standard perpetual challenge (drawn). Using a pack of 52 cards with openings printed on them the openings were changed every round, so ranged from the solid English (1.c4) to the dubious Centre Game (1.e4 e5 2.d4 exd4 3.Qxd4?!). Newcomers Nick Wright and Gary Yao took part in their first club event. Final scores: 1 Quentin Johnson 4˝/5; 2 Edward Sarfas 3˝; 3 Martin Brook 3; 4 Hildon Nisa 2˝; 5 Gary Yao 1˝; 6 Nick Wright 0.

Club Rapid Championship 1st leg – 9 August

In order to ensure the most accurate ratings, the grades were set using the Rapid Perpetual ratings at the end of June under the rules. Top seeds Quentin Johnson and Leighton Nicholls scored 5/6 in the A Grade to share the lead going ionto the second leg. In The B Grade 3rd seed Brent Southgate was surprisingly dominant to win on 5/6 and earn promotion to the A Grade ahead of Shoji Fukushima and Taine Box tied for second on 3. The C Grade was won by Max Lough with and equally dominating 5/6 to earn promotion to the B Grade ahead of Ethan Lau and John Armstrong tied for second on 2˝. The D-Grade was another convincing 5/6 win by Martin Brook, playing in his first Rapid Championship. In the combined cross table below the inter-grade handicap of 4˝ points has been added to the A grade, 1˝ to the B Grade, 1 to the C Grade and 0 to the D Grade and show the overall standings after the first leg. The handicaps are derived from the difference in expected score between the average NZCF rating of each grade.

View combined Crosstable and Rating performances
View Grade Crosstables

Otago/Southland Under 13 (Primary-Intermediate) Individual Championship – 5 August

A full house of 37 players turned out at the Otago Chess Club to compete in this year's championship. Players came from all over the region, including Queenstown, Oamaru, Cromwell, Alexandra and Limehills as well as Dunedin. Defending Champion Martin Brook (11 – all ages are as at 1 January 2017, John McGlashan), once again made no contest of the race for first - winning all six games to finish a full point ahead of his closest rivals. Three players tied for second place on 5 points: Romero Suggate (11, Tahuna Int.), Liam Gonen (12, Home) and Derick van Basten (12, Oamaru Int.). First and second in the under 11 grade was shared by Oliver Hobbs (10, Balmacewen) and Ryan Choi (9, Queenstown) on 4 points. Third went to Tom Barson (Port Chalmers) on 3½ points. Mary Mengel (10, Maori Hill) won the Best Girl prize on 2 points. The John McGlashan team of Martin Brook, Gary Yao (12) and John Mengel (11) won the Intermediate team prize with a total of 13½ points. The Port Chalmers team of Tom Barson, Fen McIntosh (10) and Louie McGlynn-Cole won the Primary team prize with a total of 8 points.

View crosstable and team standings

Cleland Trophy – 12 July

The Cleland Trophy draw was unusual this year in that the top two seeds both opted for a half-point bye in the first round, so didn't meet until until the final round. After two rounds non-one was more surprised to see club President Bob Clarkson in the sole lead on 2/2 than the President himself, having upset Edward Sarfas, while Geoff Aimers was held to a draw by Brent Southgate and Hamish Gold by Ethan Lau. Normal service was restored in round 3, however, when Bob went down to Leighton Nicholls, who joined Aimers, Gold and Quentin Johnson in the lead on 2½. Top seed Johnson took the sole lead in round 4 by defeating Aimers with a thematic exchange sac in the Sicilian, after Aimers missed a chance to return the exchange to reach a drawn opposite coloured bishop ending two pawns down. Meanwhile Nicholls and Gold drew to be half a point back on 3 with Shoji Fukushima. Round 5 saw Gold spoil a good position against Johnson to lose material and eventually the game. Nicholls stayed in contention with a win over Fukushima. Further back on 3½ were Aimers and Riley Jellyman, but as Johnson and Nicholls had yet to play, they were out of contention for the Trophy. The final round was affected by the heavy snow and only seven players made it to the clubrooms. Clarkson's event ended anticlimactically with the bye, as the lowest placed of those present who hadn't already received one. Fortunately Johnson and Nicholls were able to play each other for the Cleland Trophy. Johnson sacced a pawn in a Benoni structure for an attack that resulted in a lasting bind over the light squares. The defence was difficult and eventually Nicholls succumbed as his time ran low, leaving Johnson the winner on 5½/6. Gold finished a good tournament with a win over Hildon Nisa to join Nicholls in second place on 4 points. Duffield beat Sarfas to join Clarkson, Aimers & Jellyman in fourth on 3½.

View Crosstable and Rating performances

Otago/Southland Secondary Interschool Teams Championship 2017 – 24 June

Eleven teams from seven schools played for the thirteenth annual Otago/Southland Secondary Interschool Teams' Championship on Saturday 24 June. Very welcome were the three schools that made the trip from outside Dunedin this year: Dunstan High School, James Hargest College and Southland Boys' High School taking on the hosts Otago Boys’ High School and regular competitors Logan Park High School, John McGlashan College and Kavanagh College.

The OBHS A team defended their title once again, but were under severe pressure from the John McGlashan A team, until pulling away in the final two rounds. OBHS A finished first on 24½/28, with the John McGlashan A team second on 20½ points. The contest for third was very close, and was claimed by James Hargest College on 18 points after a 4-0 sweep of fellow Invercargill team, Southland Boys' High School, in the final round gave them a half point margin over the John McGlashan B team. The top three teams qualify for the South Island finals in Ashburton on 6 September, while OBHS A and James Hargest go on to the national finals in Christchurch on 30 September - 1 October.

Leading individual scorers were Board 1: Martin Brook (JMC A) 7/7, Riley Jellyman (OBHS A) 6/7; Andrew Wilson (Kavanagh) 4½/7; Board 2: Max Lough (OBHS A) 6/7, Noah Oseki (OBHS B) 6/7; Fraser Reynolds (JMC A) 5/7, Fred Munn (James Hargest) 5/7. Board 3: Ethan Lau (OBHS A) 6/7, Liam Barnes (James Hargest) 5/7, Harry Major (Logan Park) 5/7; Board 4: Ryan Lau (OBHS A) 6½/7, John Mengel (JMC B) 6½/7, Jin Young Kim (JMC A) 5/7.

Thank you to Otago Boys’ High School for providing the excellent venue once again.

View crosstable
View individual scores (not accurate in some cases due to board shifting between players)

Zishen Fu (OBHS B) and Riley Jellyman (OBHS A)

Finn Holden (James Hargest) and Caleb Oakley (JMC C)

Morgan Ormsby (SBHS) and Joseph Kim (JMC B)

Lilly Anderson (Dunstan A) and Leevi Hanson (Logan Park)

Andrew Wilson (Kavanagh) and Martin Brook (JMC A)

Otago/Southland Primary and Intermediate Interschool Teams Championship 2017 – 17 June

20 teams from 15 schools played for the thirteenth annual Otago/Southland Primary and Intermediate Interschool Teams' Championships at the new venue this year of Kavanagh College gymnasium. There was good representation from outside Dunedin with teams from Queenstown, Cromwell and Oamaru.

The writing was on the wall in the Intermediate section when the John McGlashan team beat defending champions Tahuna 3-1 in round 2, having won by the same margin over Queenstown Primary in the first round, as it turned out Queenstown were to be their closest rivals. Oamaru Int started with the same scores, and defeated early leaders DNI A in round three, but JMC had a 4-0 win over Balmacewen B to take the lead that round, which they kept until the end, winning all their matches and finishing first on 23/28. Queenstown fought their way to second place on 19 points, just one ahead of DNI A in third on 18 points.

Leading individual scorers were Board 1: Romero Suggate (Tahuna) 7/7, Martin Brook (John McGlashan) 6/7, Romero Suggate (Tahuna) 6/7, Derick van Basten (Oamaru) 5/7; Board 2: Gary Yao (John McGlashan) 6½/7, Ryan Choi (Queenstown) 5½/7, Emmanuel Keane (Tahuna) 5/7, Ethan Lambeth (DNI A) 5/7; Board 3: John Mengel (John McGlashan) 6/7, Nikau Edmond Smail (DNI A) 5/7, Dev Pandya (Oamaru) 5/7, Felix Telfer (DNI B) 5/7; Board 4: Aaron Nelson (Balmacewen A) 5½/7, Todd Khaengkhan (Queenstown) 5½/7, Sheon Luxmanan (John McGlashan) 4½/7, Harvey Mullins (DNI B) 4½/7.

View Intermediate crosstable
View Intermediate individual scores (not accurate in some cases due to board shifting between players)

The Primary section was a real nail-biter defending. Former champions Maori Hill took the lead from the first round and held it by half a point going into the final round. Queenstown Primary, who had been beaten 3-1 by the leaders in the third round, had hauled themselves back into contention with a series of convincing match wins over the next few rounds, including a crushing 4-0 sweep of defending Champions, George St Normal in round 4. In the final round the Maori Hill team faced George St and were held to a 2-2 draw. Meanwhile Queenstown defeated St Clair A 3-1 to sneak ahead by half a point and take the championship for 2017, finishing first on 21½/28. Maori Hill were second on 21 points and the Cromwell/Goldfields team finished third on 17½ points.

Leading individual scorers were Board 1: Hasan Sheikh (St Clair A) 7/7, Jung Hoon Kim (Maori Hill) 6/7, Torsten Wilkinson (St Leonards) 5/7, Theo Laws (Cromwell/Goldfields) 5/7; Board 2: Fen McIntosh (Port Chalmers) 6½/7, Kaleb McCombe-Rae (Cromwell/Goldfields) 6/7, Aubrey Alsop-Mackie (George St) 5/7; Board 3: Keanu Kaihe (Queenstown) 6/7, Will Parry (Maori Hill) 5½/7, Sofal Mourot (George St) 5½/7; Board 4: Luan Canina (Queenstown) 7/7, Jack Ussher (Maori Hill) 6/7, Brent Manangan (St Joeseph's A) 4½/7.

View Primary crosstable
View Primary individual scores (not accurate in some cases due to board shifting between players)

Thank you to all the participants for making it a great day of chess and a special thank you to Daniel Kelly and Kavanagh College for providing the excellent venue.

Winter Rapid Open – 10 June

The Winter Rapid Open drew a healthy field of 18. Top seed was Alexandre Quere, a French tourist, who had been playing chess whenever his trip throughout New Zealand coincided with a tournament. Ross Black came from Christchurch, and otherwise the field was from Dunedin, with former club member John Croawell a welcome addition while back in town temporarily. Three players, Jared Lau, Nick Wright and Noah Oseki were playing in their first open. This was the first time the time control of Bronstein 25 mins plus 5 seconds was used. The experiment was successful, though the 5 free seconds each move did not eliminate losses on time. The only upset in round 1 was Ethan Lau's defeat of Edward Sarfas, contimuing his good form in recent club tournaments. In round two second seed Quentin Johnson messed up a winning rook ending against Jinge Li, but Li missed the draw in severe time pressure. Third seed Hamish Gold went down to Shoji Fikushima, while Ethan Lau continued his winning ways, this time against Max Lough. The third round saw a major upset when Quere lost on time to 4th seed Shanon Davie, having been unable to convert a pawn-up ending. Davie was joined in the lead by Johnson, who avenged a recent loss against Ethan Lau, while Fukushima's run was stopped by Sarfas. Meanwhile Martin Brook racked up his second win against Bob Clarkson. The battle between the leaders in the fourth round ended in a victory for Johnson after Davie weakened his light squares in the opening and lost a critical pawn that left his pieces badly placed. Quere's woes continued as he miscalculated a promotion combination against Fukushima and his pawn was caught, but he managed to draw the ending a piece down. The older generation asserted itself a little against the young usurpers this round as Gold, Sarfas, Black, Hildon Nisa, and Clarkson defeated respectively Li, Brook, Ethan Lau, Lough and Jared Lau. The only exception was Romero Suggate's win over Croawell. The final round saw Johnson defeat Gold, taking first with 5/5 without playing the top seed. Davie had his chances to beat Sarfas after a piece sac for a kingside attack, but in the end the defence prevailed. Black joined Sarfas in second place on 4 points with a win over Fukushima. Quere's win over Li left him just out of the prizelist in fourth on 3½. The under 1400 grade was deservedly won jointly by Brook, who won a nice ending from Nisa, and Ethan Lau who beat Oseki to finish tied on 3 points.
The next rapid open is the Spring Rapid on Saturday 2 September.

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Swiss Rapid – 31 May

The Swiss Rapid was won by second seed Hamish Gold in a tournament full of upsets and reversals. Gold defeated top seed Quentin Johnson in round three to share the lead with EDward Sarfas, playing this event for the first time. Sarfas won the game to be sole leader on 4/4, followed by Gold and Ethan Lau on 3 points after the latter inflicted a second loss on Johnson. Also on 3/4 were Riley Jellyman and Jack Cowie, both scoring two wins after two half-point byes, but neither of these two played in the final two rounds. In round 5 Ethan Lau joined Sarfas in the lead by winning their encounter, along with Gold who beat Shoji Fukushima. The final round saw Gold win a hairy looking game over Ethan to take first place on 5/6. Sarfas lost his second in a row, this time to Johnson, so these two both joined Ethan Lau in second place on 4 points. In a strangely split field, the next group in fifth equal on 3½ were Ryan Lau, Shoji Fukushima, Max Lough and John Armstrong. There were some big winners and losers rating points-wise, with the biggest gainers being Ethan and Ryan Lau and John Armstrong.

View Crosstable and Rating performances

Shuffle tournament – 10 May

10 players took part in the shuffle chess tournament, which was a nine round round-robin. Random starting positions and a 5 minutes 3 seconds Bronstein removed the experience advantage of some players, which was reflected in the final standings. Top seed Quentin Johnson managed to survive a dead lost position a rook down aganst Ethan Lau, when Ethan overlooked a sneaky endgame mate, on the way to scoring 9/9. Edward Sarfas took clear second on 8 points and Ryan Lau third on 7 points. Final scores: 1 Johnson 9/9; 2 Sarfas 8; 3 Ryan Lau 7; 4 Martin Brook 5½; 5 Ethan Lau 4; 6 Jack Cowie 3½; 7-8 Hildon Nisa & John Armstrong 3; Bob Clarkson 2; Wade (visitor) 0.

Club Championship – 3 May

After the first leg of the 2017 Club Championship, Leighton Nicholls leads the A grade after an excellent result of 4½/5. Quentin Johnson is half a point behind and the only player in range to have realistic chances to challenge Nicholls for the title in the 2nd leg. Iain Lamont and Edward Sarfas were next on 2 points, followed by Riley Jellyman on 1½, and Geoff Aimers on 1.

With one game to play, the B grade is led by 3rd seed Brent Southgate on 3½/5. But top seed Terry Duffield is on 3/4 with a game in hand against the fast improving Shoji Fukushima, who is on 2½/4. at least one of these two must catch Southgate. Hamish Gold on 2½ rescued his tournament with wins in the final two rounds, while John Armstrong's 2 points was a good showing. Bob Clarkson found the going tough on ½ a point.
Update: Duffield beat Fukushima in a well calculated pawn ending to finish first overall on 4/5.

The C grade was a six-round Swiss. After an inauspicious start losing to Hildon Nisa, Max Lough put together a string of wins to finish first on 5/6 and gain a bunch of rating points. At one point it looked like a four-way tie for first was possible, if top seed Taine Box beat Lough in the final round, but Lough prevailed, leaving Nisa and David Reid tied for second on 4 points, with Box 4th on 3 points.

The rules mean that each grade start with a base score and/or a scaling factor, to allow performances to be roughly compared between grades, based on the average rating of the field in each grade. That allows players in different grades to compete for the same trophy on fair terms. The Championship totals in the link below show the effect of these adjustments.

View all crosstables
View A-Grade crosstable and rating performances
View B-Grade crosstable and rating performances
View C-Grade crosstable and rating performances

Blitz tournament – 22 March

The five minutes time limit tended to favour the faster moving players at the expense of the slower ones compared to their usual strength. The competition in the field of 12 for first was intense, with many results going down to the wire and overall victory in doubt until the final round.
Final scores: 1
Quentin Johnson, 10/11; 2-3 Riley Jellyman & Shoji Fukushima 9; 4 Edward Sarfas 8; 5 Ethan Lau 6½; 1 6 Max Lough 5; 7-8 Martin Brook & Hildon Nisa 4½; 9 John Armstrong 3½; 10 Taine Box 3; 11 Jack Cowie 2; 12 Bob Clarkson 1.

Alan Chang Memorial – 15 March

The Alan Chang 10 minute hourglass tournament as always produced very tough competition for the tournament victory, but this year the Alan Chang Trophy for the biggest upset was almost a non-contest. The trophy holder from last years' event, Taine Box staked his claim on the trophy from round 1 with a huge upset win over Geoff Aimers. No one else came close to challenging this result in the rest of the tournament, though there were many further upsets. Top seed Quentin Johnson had guaranteed a share of first place going into the final round on 4/4 after a lucky win over co-leader Riley Jellyman when the latter misplayed a drawable rook ending. But an opening slip against Leighton Nicholls was ultimately punished and Nicholls joined Johnson in first place on 4/5 along with Aimers, who made the most of his swiss gambit with four consecutive wins. Jellyman and Iain Lamont fought to a standstill in the final round, sharing fourth on 3½ points. Other notable performances were Jack Cowie's 3/4 after missing the first round and Martin Brook and Ryan Lau's 2/5 against very tough opposition. Taine Box pocketed the most rating points, with significant gains by Riley Jellyman and Ryan Lau.

View Crosstable and Rating performances

Autumn Rapid Open – 4 March

The 2017 Seasonal Rapids to determine the winner of the Westpac 30-30 Trophy began with the Autumn Rapid. By recent standards the turnout of 11 was relatively meagre, but the recently re-esteablished OUSA chess club members Paddy Cheah and Sean Ward were a welcome addition to the regulars. Their estimated ratings from were a little low and Paddy had top seed Quentin Johnson on the ropes in round 1 with a strong piece sac before ruining it with a blunder, while Sean's piece sac against second seed Riley Jellyman gave him an upset victory. Paddy beat Taine Box in the next round is an interesting BvR ending with passed pawns on both sides. Taine stopped pushing his pawns a move too early and went from winning to losing. Quentin was the only players to reach 3/3 after picking off Ross Blacks pawns one at a time. While Riley beat Naser Tamimi to join him in the chasing group on 2 points. Riley blundered in a difficult position against Quentin to leave the latter on 4/4. Paddy beat Naser, Ross beat Hildon Nisa and Shoji Fukushima beat Taine to stay in touch on 3 points. Because he had played all the others on 3, Quentin was paired with the unlucky Naser in the final round and went on to win to score 5/5. Pady defeated Hildon to score an excellent 4 points, and he was joined in second place by Shoji, who beat Ross in the last game to finish.

The next rapid open is the Winter Rapid on Saturday 10 June.

View Crosstable

2017 Otago chess club AGM – 15 February

Bob Clarkson stayed on a President for another year, as did all the other main officers, except Taine Box replaced John Sutherland as Treasurer. Subscriptions rose by $5 except for Junior members. The 2017 committee comprises:

President: Bob Clarkson; Vice President: Brent Southgate; Secretary: Leighton Nicholls; Treasurer: Taine Box; Director of Junior Play: Quentin Johnson; Past-President: Geoff Aimers; Committee members: Terry Duffield, Edward Sarfas, Naser Tamimi & Riley Jellyman; Auditor: Bob Glass; Patron: Bob Glass.

Opening Night1 February

This year a variation was tried on the troditional Presidents vs Vice Presidents match. With 15 players and in the absence of the President, the play was a three-way match bewteen teams of five players at a time limit of Bronstein 30 mins no increment. Each player played two games simultaneously against their counterparts from the other two teams. The teams were evenly matched, and time became a big factor in the results. The Previous Past President's team won the match with 6/10 ahead of the Vice President on 5 and the Past President on 4.

Vice President

Past President

Previous Past President

Quentin Johnson


Naser Tamimi


Iain Lamont


Edward Sarfas


Geoff Aimers


Riley Jellyman


Taine Box


Shoji Fukushima


Terry Duffield


Brent Southgate


David Reid


Ethan Lau


Martin Brook


Hildon Nisa

Ryan Lau


Total Score


Total Score


Total Score